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Mitch McConnell
  Airstrikes Are Only a Response to Chemical Attacks Says Majority Leader  CSPAN  April 7, 2017 9:24pm-9:54pm EDT

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surveillance programs that it would undermine support of those programs in congress? >> i do not want to draw a conclusion now but i have heard two or three other members of both bodies that have suggested that. but i think that they would be suggesting it even if you did not have this. i think that is where that comes from. thank you all very much. [inaudible conversations] >> senate majority leader mitch mcconnell also spoke to reporters about the confirmation of judge neil gorsuch. other topics included the us
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military strike in syria. in the upcoming congressional agenda including ongoing efforts to repeal and replace the affordable care act. this is 25 minutes. >> certainly this is an important day in history of the senate and in the supreme court. as i look back on my career i think the most consequential decision i've ever been involved in was the decision to let the president being elected last year take the supreme court nominee. of course, my colleagues backed me up. the american people's vote and today we will confirm the nominee and the new president has selected. as we all know, he is a person of extraordinary credentials that will bring honor to the supreme court for many many years to come. it is indeed a proud day.i
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also want to express my support for the strength of the president made last night. against assad chemical weapons facility. i think the strike was well-planned. while executed. certainly more than a pinprick. and sends a message not only to assad that using chemical weapons innocently cannot do with impunity but i think it also reassures our allies that america is back. and in terms of playing a leadership role and trying to be constructive in a variety of different places around the world. as well as a message to iran and north korea and the russians. that america intends to lead again. recommend the president for this decision and i think it is entirely correct. one other observation i would make as we move beyond the
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supreme court, the democratic leader and i had a goodly meeting this week. to discuss the way forward. the spending bill to fund the government through september 30 obviously is one that cannot be done by one party will require the senate tradition bipartisan involvement. the appropriations committees have been working together on a bipartisan basis to come up with a package and of course the democratic leader will be in the role. and during the obama years, these kind of bills can pass without a reasonable number of the party of the minority in the senate and we are optimistic that we will be able to work all of that out and meet the deadline at the end of the month. with that let me -- >> you have spoken in support since yesterday. in your mind, what is the legal and constitutional authority that underpins that and do you have any concerns about him using the authority however, he
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may in the future? >> i think the president has the authority to do what he did. and i'm glad he did it. [inaudible question] >> would you be in support if we're going to have issues with syria and send messages leads other nations as well to have some sort of -- >> well, i would be interested in taking a look. if the president feel like he needs it. president obama i cannot think of her specifically asked for in ams they were so restrictive that most of my members felt it would be past would be to sort of micromanage future executive branch activity in the area. so the president can think of
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some amf i would be happy to take a look at it. >> you had opposed military action in syria in the past. what makes last night different? >> i will to the difference. secretary carrie i guess in order to reassure the left leaning members of his own party said it would be like a pinprick. you know it really would not be of any big consequence. i don't know what he had in mind knocking out a couple of camels or what. but this was a strike that was well-planned, well executed and went right to the heart. had i seen that kind of approach by president obama, am sure i would have signed up. >> and her with the pointer with us policy should be assad's removal in syria? >> i think the strike was simply about, don't use chemical weapons again. that's what this strike was about. so i do not think it necessarily leads to another conclusion.but i do not see
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how they can possibly be any settlement in syria that includes al-assad. i just cannot imagine, after all of the butchering of his own people that he is been doing for four or five years now. that there can be any successful conclusion to this chaos with him still there. [inaudible question] would you consider purging the president on that particular issue if vladimir putin continues to help al-assad and beef up the air defenses and future attacks? >> i think it is the administration has not listed any existing sanctions.and if they feel they need to do some sanctions or we can come up
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with something that we can enjoy bipartisan support i would be open to it. the russians are not our friends. i think they demonstrated that over and over and over again. i will certainly be willing to talk to chairman corker and anyone else who thinks we may need to go beyond where we are. >> first off how's the white house asked for anything in the spending bill that you feel would jeopardize the ability to pass this and have you talked to mitt romney about running for senate? >> on the first question, you all know how i really do not want to negotiate these deals with you guys. all of those items are under discussion between the white house and the democratic leader in the senate and the four corners on the committee. i cannot specify how it all plays out. i've had several conversations with mitt romney.
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obviously i am in orrin hatch supporter. and he has to decide what he wants to do. if you want to run again i am for him. >> have you been given that the president - >> i will get you in a minute. >> to you talk about the instruction between the administration and syria in the attack? >> i have the vice president connie last night. explained the rationale, how they were doing it and i thought it made a lot of sense. and it would be a strength that will be noticed. not some kind of -- and be directly related to the reason looks percent in the first place. the use of chemical weapons. i very much approve of what the president did. i think it was not only an important message to assad but to everyone who might be
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wondering just what this new administration will be like. i would be encouraged if i was watching is that america is back in the business of being more assertive and less passive. that does not mean you're going to send in the troops every time there is a scrimmage somewhere. but i thought it was very reassuring. >> given that president trump was first acting in part because of the energies he saw families and children being killed but is chemical weapons. do you think he should reevaluate his policy towards refugees from that region given that a lot of them are children? >> i am not going to give him any advice about that. america has always stepped up in these refugee situations. how many people we take is always under discussion. but obviously the refugees are not going to quit coming until the war stops.
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and one of the things that i think both democrats and republicans have said we need to take a look at over the years is to create some safe zones. which would create military action. but to create a safe zone inside of syria so people do not feel exactly run for their lives. we are ready have a number of people in jordan, turkey and many have managed to your. having all kinds of impact on europe. we need to stop this if we can. it is something i have heard people on both sides talk about a good bit. >> did you get a signal he is the white house about what comes next, will they be more military action -- >> no, i think this strike is related to the use of chemical weapons only. i do not interpret this as the first step toward anything else in particular.rather than trying to eliminate or at least
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to make sure that there, he knows there are consequences. for doing this again. >> he mentioned the spending bill as something you need, and the president needs to work with democrats on. is there anything in the near term on the senate's legislative agenda that is going to involve a lot of democratic support? >> all of the appropriations. all of them. none of these can be done by one party only. as soon as we finish funding the government through september 30, we are already into the 2018 appropriations cycle. all of that will have to be done on a bipartisan basis. and i think the democratic leaders can speak for themselves but i'm confident we look at it the same way. >> will there be other spending bills? >> sure, there will be other
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bills. i will announce them when we get to them. [inaudible question] >> after going to the filibuster and so forth, and the report had a very good fundraising month. how do you look at the prospects getting at least eight seats right now? >> this is april 2017. and you're asking me to predict what will happen in the fall of 2018. i declined the opportunity. [laughter] i would certainly hope we can hold the senate. and that certainly will be our goal. >> on politics as well, have you had any conversations with the president or do you plan to have any conversations with the president about the importance of not challenging incumbent republicans and picking the most electable candidates?
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>> i do not think that will be a problem. as you all know, if you follow politics on here - we intend to renominate all of our incumbents. and we intend to play climers if there is a clear choice between someone who can win in november and someone who cannot.the idea i always remind people is to win the election. and frequently, the primary in 2010 and 2012 dictated the outcome in november. we did not let that happen in 2014. willie had one episode in 2016 in indiana we nominated the right candidate. so i think the safe thing is they will be looking for in these nonincumbent races, the most electable candidate possible.i think the administration will defer to our judgment on that. >> given what happened with the
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repeal and replace effort in the house, is there any consideration on capture form to perhaps not using the reconciliation process and taking the more bipartisan approach? >> i just got here what we did tax reform 30 years ago. and here was a situation, it was a democratic house. republican senate. republican president. we had a bipartisan agreement with revenue neutral to the governor. the leader of the democrats on the issue is bill bradley. not exactly a right wing. a very different environment. today's democratic party seems to me believes that tax reform is about income redistribution. how much can we get out of the people in order to push down to those less successful? that is not about growing the economy. and so i would love to be able
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to do tax reform on a bipartisan basis but i think most democrats believe tax reform is a tax hike. tax reform is about making america more competitive. we do not have a single year of three percent growth during the obama years. we are not going to be able to realize opportunities for the next generation until we get the country growing again. i expect we will be left with the reconciliation device because the central logic interest on the democratic side and trying to get us going again. the two things we need one is regulatory relief and we have done 11 cra's already. we hope to do a few more before the time runs out. the administration is trying on its own to curb delay or stop some of the most egregious regulations have slowed the economy down. if we can succeed in serious regulatory reform and getting more rational tax code we can get this country growing again
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which will provide more jobs and opportunity for everybody. i would love for the democrats to be part of that. i don't think they look at this the same way we do. as a jobs issue. and so i have not anticipated their cooperation. >> on syria, he said he did. >> guest: the vice president last night. [inaudible question] give any indication from the administration on the strategy at this point? and secondly i wanted to follow up on -- >> really, i do know anybody is confused. i think it is very clear with the strike was about. we do not use chemical weapons without consequences. that is a pretty clear message. and i do not necessarily read
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into that on a larger strategy in the area. but certainly they want to try to prevent the mass killings of innocent people by the use of chemical weapons. not that it was very clear way to send a message. [inaudible question] >> i do not know what we will hear from them beyond that. [inaudible question] >> given a sense of the amendment yesterday, is something that would get -- >> what was the initial question? look obviously, this is pretty hard to do. if the house is able to send something over to us we will take it up. it will be hard here as well.
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but the initial effort will be in the house and i'm hoping that they can successful and get something over to us. >> and working with democrats on the spending bill. senator schumer seems to suggest otherwise that he is not been in communication with the white house. >> oh really? i was mistaken i thought they were talking to each other. mulvaney met this week -- [inaudible] >> i am not going to argue about that i'm not going to ask that question i thought they were in communication. >> i was wondering, he said this was one of the most consequential decisions that you made. with the current present deciding who's going to be on the supreme court. what do you think -- >> i think is important to
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remember as you offered me say over and over again, the business of filibustering executive branch appointments is a recent thing. invented ironically by the democratic leader of the senate. i hope you all did at least listen to the facts there's a lot on here but the facts are the democratic leader of the senate invented filibustering judges. where we are is back where we were sense late as 2000. for executive branch appointments to cabinet positions and set cabinet positions and plot positions, our delta a simple majority vote. the court listen is a legislative filibuster. this business of filibustering judges is a creation. senator schumer when george bush got elected. not a long-standing tradition.
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the practical result of where we are now is we are back to where we were late as 2000. the best test of that would have been with the nomination in 1991.nobody would argue that was most controversial supreme court nomination ever you all know all it takes to get 60 votes is one senator out of 100 to say want you to get 60 votes. nobody did that. it is a pretty strong health custom. and that is the way the senate operated until 2000. this notion that this somehow bleeds over into legislative filibuster is untrue. i am opposed to it. senator collins as you know is circulating a letter. to senator schumer and myself of members who support the legislative luster.i would be the beneficiary. in my party would be the beneficiary. changing that. i am opposed to changing i think that is what
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fundamentally changes. the senate. republicans have always felt that way. given an example of interest history. 1994 big republican sweep. but the house for the first time in 40 years that the senate back. tom harkin he used to be here was always in favor of turning the senate into the house. and on day one he proposed rules change. to lower the threshold for everything to a simple majority. and every single member of the new just elected, new republican majority voted no. and they would have been obviously the beneficiaries of that. so it is not true that the executive calendar and how we handle that is the core of the way the senate operates. the legislative filibuster is. i do not favor getting rid of that. even though we would have a
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short-term benefit from that. i'm optimistic that senator collins will get a lot of people signing the letter to the democratic leader and myself having a similar view. >> following up on that given the democratic actions we seen on the floor this week do you think may have suggested is really just gearing up for the next time a seat opens up that could change the ideological balance. do you think that is true?>> i don't know, we do not have another seat right now. what i would like to see after the recess is us get back to some semblance of normalcy. he works all night sessions on cabinet appointments and a lot of other things i think are pretty obvious a response to the poor base of the democratic party. there is deep depression in the outcome of the election. i think it is time to move past that. have a lot of the democrats, they are telling me they want to move past that. we will be able to do that publicly when we get back. one of the opportunity to do it
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is the spending bills as soon as we get back. [inaudible question] >> i think there is no easy answer to what is next. what i do think we will succeed in doing which the previous administration started and i think this administration is going to finish.that is to get iso out of iraq d ãto get isil out of iraq but i think we will succeed. i think secondary mattis has indicated he will recommend a residual force stay behind in iraq. there is a lot of finger-pointing about who was responsible for leaving
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entirely in the early years of the obama administration. they said that the iraqis wanted us to go. the iraqis said no we did not. but regardless, regardless, whose idea it was for us to completely withdraw from iraq, it was a bad idea. we needed a residual force left behind like in germany and japan and korea. president obama left a residual force behind in afghanistan. i think the units help guarantee that you do not have this sort of fight the war all over again. [inaudible question] are there any considerations that come back to the debate authorization? >> what? >> are there any conversations about that? >> no. one more and we are out. >> with the vote on gorsuch
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they will be single-handedly responsible for the one major legislative victory by the trump administration so far. i'm curious what evidence you can point to that this administration knows how to achieve legislative outcome on the hill. >> i happen to think the congressional reviews we are doing are significant. they will save the economy billions of dollars and when we finished doing and we are hoping to entice all of you into finally running a story about how much rely for the economy that has occurred as a result of repealing these regulations. but there is much left to be done and i'm optimistic that we will be able to accomplish a lot for the american people. thanks a lot. with judge neil gorsuch that to become the latest supreme court justice, here is a look at what
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current justice ginsberg had to say when asked about her advised by new justice. during a 2009 interview. >> and new justice comes to the court and the continuance in your office and say tell me what i should know. about this court that will make it a better experience. what do you tell them? >> i would say you will be surprised by the high level we have here. this term i think we divided in a most one third of all the cases. one might get a false impression on that degree of disagreement. justice scalia once commented, that in his early years on the court there was no justice with whom he disagreed more often than justice brennan.
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and yet, justice scalia considered justice brennan his best friend on the court. at that time. and he thought the feeling was reciprocated. the public would not know that from reading an opinion by brandon or by scalia or the other way around. but these were two men who genuinely liked each other and enjoyed each other's company. >> the newspaper reports and judge neil gorsuch will officially be sworn in monday as a supreme court's next associate justice. the swearing and will begin in the morning with chief justice john roberts administering the constitutional oath in private at the supreme court and will be followed by a public ceremony at the white house. where justice anthony kennedy is said to give the judicial oath.
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>> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> that beginning at 10:00 a.m. eastern we have a panel discussion on income and equality with catherine eaton author of two dollars a day. living on almost nothing in america. and stephanie deluca author of coming-of-age in the other america. then at 11:00 a.m. eastern a discussion on criminal justice with -- and her book. and author brian -- with his book race and justice on death
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row. at noon eastern, author discussions with mark schreiber the author of pilgrimage, my search for the real pope francis. at 1:30 p.m. eastern michael hayden author of playing to the edge. in american intelligence in the age of terror. and at 3:00 p.m. eastern the author of the speed of sound breaking the barriers between music and technology. watch the 15th annual annapolis folk festival live on saturday at 10 eastern on c-span2's booktv. >> next, look at health insurance industry and potential changes in the future. this form of the alliance for health reform begins with a conversation between former senate democratic leader daschle and foreman centers for medicare and medicaid services administrator, tom scully. >> without further delay i will introduce our first, actually